Stinky Documents

When we store food well past its expiration date, it starts to stink.  That bad smell reminds us to put it in the trash.  But unlike food, documents don’t send a clear and obnoxious signal when they should be thrown out.  The staggering volume of paperwork clutters our homes.  But it doesn’t have to.  The table below shows five bulky records we tend to keep past their usefulness.   DOCUMENT TYPE WHEN TO SHRED THEM Credit card bills and receipts After you check and pay each bill, unless needed for your tax return or a warranty. Bank statements At the end of each … [Read more...]

The Age of Ma’am

Article first published as The Age of Ma'am on Blogcritics. Women enter “The Age of Ma’am” at different times because The Age is not tied to a specific birthday. Instead, The Ma’am Age is similar to The Ice Age, in that it describes both an era and an environment. … [Read more...]

Arcosanti’s Beehives for People

Civilization moves forward on the feet of dreamers and builders.  Dreamers imagine the future while builders create passageways taking us there. Italian architect Paolo Soleri, 92, is one of those rare individuals possessing both a dreamer’s vision and a builder’s blueprint.  … [Read more...]

Flag Displays and HOAs

The First Amendment protects a person’s right to free speech over any conflicting Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions of an HOA when the U.S. flag is involved. The federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act  states that associations cannot prevent flag displays on the residential areas to which an owner has a “separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use."  This means owners generally can display the flag in their unit and on their limited common elements, like decks.  However, reasonable “time, place and manner” restrictions can be enforced to protect … [Read more...]

Realities of Home Owners Association (HOA) Boards

Serving on a Homeowner Association Board is an important duty that contributes to the well-being of the community.  But it is an unpaid and often thankless job. Here are ten ways HOA Board members are continually reminded that no good deed goes unpunished. 1.  Difficult issues often require choosing between greatly upsetting the few or moderately upsetting the many.  Either choice will cause both results. … [Read more...]

Why You Don’t Own Your Front Yard

Most Minneapolis home owners are shocked to learn they don’t own all of their front yard.  People assume that the public sidewalk abuts the residential property line.  That’s a logical assumption and one that holds true in St. Paul.  So why isn't it true in Minneapolis? … [Read more...]

One for the Road

Have you ever wondered why some Minnesota cities operate liquor stores and bars?  When national Prohibition was repealed in 1933, states quickly designed their own systems for controlling liquor sales.  Minnesota’s law at the time allowed cities with less than 10,000 people to operate their own on-sale (bars) and off-sale (stores) businesses.  … [Read more...]

Rugby – Utopia for Second Sons

Ever since Eden was lost, people have tried to discover or create the next utopia.  In 1880, famed British author and social reformer Thomas Hughes started an experimental utopian colony in Rugby, Tennessee.  Hughes rebelled against the materialism of the Victorian era and England’s primogeniture law. … [Read more...]

Radon and the Tooth Fairy

Remember when you were very young and it was easy to believe in things you couldn't see, like the Tooth Fairy?   The Tooth Fairy was so cool, giving you money for something you no longer needed.  And even when the day came that your baby teeth or your belief were no more, the Tooth Fairy didn't get mad at being ignored.  Good ol'  TF was never bad or harmful. … [Read more...]

The Sculpture Mystery

Houses hold stories created by their inhabitants.  Sometimes the house itself contains the story’s physical record: the successively-higher pencil lines on a doorjamb showing a child’s growth; the secret hiding spot above the ceiling tile; the dusty box of letters left in a forgotten corner of the attic.  These relics provide unique connections from prior home owners to later ones. … [Read more...]

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